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VITAL WEEKLY
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number 552
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week 45
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Vital Weekly, the webcast: we offering a weekly webcast, freely to download. This can be regarded as the audio-supplement to Vital Weekly. Presented as a radioprogramm with excerpts of just some of the CDs (no vinyl or MP3) reviewed. It will remain on the site for a limited period (most likely 2-4 weeks). Download the file to your MP3 player and enjoy!
complete tracklist here: http://www.vitalweekly.net/podcast.html
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New broadcasts will be sent directly when uploaded. For more information on
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* noted are in this week's podcast


PINK TWINS - INTERCONTINENTAL CATAPULT (CD by Pink Twins Media) *
PISTOL DISCO - TWO (CD by Celebrity Lifestyle Records) *
WHITE NOISE CAROUSEL - IAMINTHEDIRECTORY (CD by Psy Harmonics)
PURE SOUND - YUKON (CD by Euphonium Records)
LITHOPS - MOUND MAGNET (CD by Thrill Jockey)
GENE COLEMAN & RAED YASSIN - THE ADVENTURES OF NABIL FAWZI (CD by AL MASLAKH)
PETER BRÖTZMANN & MICHEL ZERANG - LIVE IN BEIRUT (CD by AL MASLAKH)
TOM CHANT & SHARIF SEHNAQUI - CLOISTER (CD by AL MASLAKH) *
H.E.R.R. - VONDEL'S LUCIFER : FIRST MOVEMENT (CD by Cold Spring)
OREN AMBARCHI & KEITH ROWE - SQUIRE (CD by For4Ears Records) *
KAHN, MÖSLANG, MÜLLER, SHIBUYA, MARA - SIGNAL TO NOISE VOL.1 (CD by For4Ears Records)
FASTEN, BULBOUS: THE CAPTAIN BEEFHEART PROJECT - PORK CHOP BLUE AROUND THE RIND (CD by Cuneiform)
NATASHA ANDERSON - SPORE (CD by Cajid Media) *
OLIVIA BLOCK - HEAVE TO (CD by Sedimental) *
STEFANO PILIA - THE SUNCROWS FALL AND TREE (CD by Sedimental)
LUIGI ARCHETTI - TRANSIENT PLACES (CD by Unit Records)
LUIGI ARCHETTI - FEBRUAR (CD by Unit Records) *
YUJI TAKAHASHI & KEIICHIRO SHIBUYA & MARIA - DUB LILAC (CD by Atak) *
KEIICHIRO SHIBUYA & NORBERT MÖSLANG & TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA (CD by Atak) *
TAKAGI MASAKATSU - WORLD IS SO BEAUTIFUL (DVD by Carpark Records)
PIERRE ALEXANDRE TREMBLAY - ALTER EGO (DVD by Empreintes Digitales)
MARK SADGROVE - TWO RULES (7" Lathe Cut by A Binary Datum)
MICROCLIMATE - UNTITLED (7" Lathe Cut by A Binary Datum)
HELGA FASSONAKI - COVERT LOADSTONES (7" Lathe Cut by A Binary Datum)
SUPERIMPOZER - THOUGHT FUNGUS (CDR by Dubious Audio)
(((STEREOFECT))) - PING (CDR by Triple Bath) *
FEU FOLLET - SOUVENIR D'ERMITAGE (CDR by Silence Is Not Empty) *
SOUND_00 - AMBIENCE (CDR by Dirty Demos)
[DEAD WOOD] - SAME PLACE DIFFERENT WEATHER (CDR by Dirty Demos) *
PINKEYE FEAT LINDA - THE LOST FORM OF ECHO (3"CDR by Dirty Demos)
MACHINEFABRIEK - STOTTERMUZIEK (3" CDR by Machinefabriek)
THE SUN IS AN ORANGE COOKIE - MY HEART OF SUGAR (MP3/CD-R by Chloe Recordings)
STEPHEN GARD - CARRIERS (MP3 by Earlabs)
WOLFGANG PETER MENZEL - ELECTROVIRUS (MP3 by Earlabs)

 

 

 

PINK TWINS - INTERCONTINENTAL CATAPULT (CD by Pink Twins Media)
Despite being in existence since 1997, we first encountered the Pink Twins earlier this year, with their nicely titled 'Paint It Pink'. The brothers Juha and Vesa Vehvilainenreturn now with their fifth CD 'Intercontinental Catapult', also recorded live, but this time at one place: Teatro La Fenice, Venice, Italy, during the well-known Biennale Di Venezia, '49th International Festival Of Contemporary Music'. They call it 'free form computer music' and whereas on the previous release it was all a bit too free form for me, I must say I rather enjoyed this one. Chopped up into six pieces, the sound bounces around, free form and freed of any structure, liberated perhaps, vibrating through plug ins and maybe out-of-the computer electronica, the main improvement over the previous disc, lies in the fact that the two listen to each other and interact more to what they are doing. Was the previous mainly an exercise in noise, this is more along the lines of Mego, especially Fenn'o'berg springs to mind and is a major leap forward. And again without much pink on the cover. (FdW)
Address: http://www.pinktwins.com

PISTOL DISCO - TWO (CD by Celebrity Lifestyle Records)
Following two low life CDR releases on the otherwise low life (both times a compliment really) by Pistol Disco (Vital Weekly 463 and 467), here is now the first 'real' CD by them. Pistol Disco is a duo of Alexander Palmestal ('voice'n'fuzz) and Mikeal Enqvist (rhythm'n'neu), and is a continuation of the previous two releases (I think the title refers to the number of band members rather than the number of releases), but it expands the sound also. Pistol Disco uses a lot of strong pulsating electro rhythms, along the lines of Suicide and The Screamers, but add a whole dose of much louder noise to it. Palmestal's vocals do not match those of Alan Vega, but are more free form howl drenched with delays and reverb. In 'Cheree', the final track of the release, or 'Dark Star', they take matters however into a new area: soft, but loaded with electronics, almost ambient in approach. Here Pistol Disco offers much more variety than before, but the overall I must say that the tracks are bit too long to hold the interest. Things should be either a bit more varied, or bit shorter - let's say a bit more punk - to get the real untamed energy across. (FdW)
Address: http://www.celebritylifestylerecords.com

WHITE NOISE CAROUSEL - IAMINTHEDIRECTORY (CD by Psy Harmonics)
Hardly a week passes without music from down under, and one of the reasons that so many people make music down there is that it is expensive to import music from the rest of the world, so why not produce it yourself? Here White Noise Carousel is the new thing, a duo of Nadav Rayman and Boyd Korab, who have been playing together since 1994. First as a chill outfit for techno parties, but also creating music for theatre, animation and installations. Armed with samplers, vintage synthesizers and found sound, White Noise Carousel have nothing to do with white noise. Their sound is hard to pin down to a specific style, as it's rather a mixture of many styles. There is techno like textures, drum 'n bass, trip hop and such like, all spiced up with some ambient synthetic patterns and more experimental sounds of an undefinable nature. For die hard lovers of say techno or ambient this must be an absolute drag, but I rather enjoyed it. It's altogether quite a cinematic trip from the urban places where there is joy and life to the Australian dessert where there quietness and contemplation, or even a jazz piano, such as in 'LaidBare'. I am not sure if the intention was to make such as overall record, or whether this is 'just' a collection of songs, I couldn't tell. But for once it's a mixture that makes sense, and delivers a highly varied and highly enjoyable album. (FdW)
Address: http://www.psy-harmonics.com.au

PURE SOUND - YUKON (CD by Euphonium Records)
Behind Pure Sound is primarily one Vince Hunt, who is the bass player from A Witness, who gets help from Inca Babies singer and guitarplayer Harry Stafford and 'specialist' noise guitarist Colin Grimshaw. Pure Sound 'explores music, words and atmosphere'. Words here should not be understood as vocals or singing but the recitation of poetry, such as 'The Man Who Don't Fit In', as read by J. Frank Willis in 1962 and by Hunt himself. 'Happy Birthday From Texas' uses the singing of James Baker, Ernest Williams and Henry Truvilion. The music that is put against consists of detuned guitars, backwards spinning of vinyl and some rhythms. The press text reads about 'colossal bass lines, industrial rhythm tracks and an unsettling sonic backdrop' and 'Industrial soundcapes' and I even double checked if I had the right CD on, because those three features were hardly to be found here. That's however no problem, since the music that is hardly dealing with noise is quite sweet, but it fits perhaps much better to the poetry/readings here. It's quite cinematic in approach, with sounds coming in and out (perhaps lifted from sound effect records, rather than field recordings of one's own making). It's quite an interesting work, even when I can imagine that the talking part may be a bit tedious if played regularly, but it evokes a mid-western US prairie feeling of lonesomeness and tranquility. Quite nice indeed. (FdW)
Address: http://www.euphoniumrecords.com

LITHOPS - MOUND MAGNET (CD by Thrill Jockey)
Music by Jan St. Werner has never been reviewed in Vital Weekly, and the reason? I couldn't tell. The man has been active in Mouse On Mars, Microstoria and solo as Lithops, so there was reason enough. But somehow somewhere it's a black spot. Lithops has a had releases on Soniq Records, Static Caravan, Eat Raw and now on Thrill Jockey. His music is not easy to describe. In the nine pieces there is always some rhythm going on, perhaps even as such as techno rhythm, but there are also in every track strange sounds that are swirling around it. Not just one or two, Lithops' music is loaded with many layers of sound. I don't consider myself a connoisseur of this kind of music at all, but it sounded to me at times like Autechre, but in a more humorous way. Very lively music that is, in which a lot happens, on all sorts of levels. At times it seems randomly improvised around a given rhythm, which in itself are complex structures, but he always find the right end, and doesn't get lost inside the improvisations. Not really refined, even a bit noisy, but all with a mild sense. A great album, that is perhaps too lively: I felt kind of tired in the end!
Address: http://www.thrilljockey.com

GENE COLEMAN & RAED YASSIN - THE ADVENTURES OF NABIL FAWZI (CD by AL MASLAKH)
PETER BRÖTZMANN & MICHEL ZERANG - LIVE IN BEIRUT (CD by AL MASLAKH)
TOM CHANT & SHARIF SEHNAQUI - CLOISTER (CD by AL MASLAKH)
Three CDs from a fresh new label from Lebanon. Why not? At the moment there are about five releases around from this label, that is closely associated with the Irtijal Festival of Improvised Music in Beirut. This festival emerged in 2000 and was a first sign of the appearance of a new generation of musicians from Lebanon that are interested in adventurous music. In order to document this new scene the Al Maslakh label was established. The first two releases have trumpet player Mazen Kerbaj a.o. On these three new cds Kerbaj - one of the founding fathers - wrote the liner notes presenting the duo combinations. Great to hear that improvised music also attracts people is this part of the world. Hopefully their cds will reach above all music lovers there. I guess there are not many similar initiatives concerning improvised music in this region. So I don't hesitate to say that these releases are of historical importance.
Kerbaj together with some other fellow Lebanese artists will play at a parallel Irtijal Festival that will take place this month in Bern, Switzerland (http://paed.ch/almaslakhfestival), thanks to the help of Paed Conca. Let's come to the cds now. The first one offers improvisations of Gene Coleman on bass clarinet and Raed Yassin on double bass, recorded in July 2005. Raed Yassin is a young artist, actor and musician from Beirut. Gene Coleman is an American improvisor and composer. In 5 episodes recorded on one day in july 2005, their improvisations develop slowly but with great concentration by the two players. Inspired music it is. The same can be said about 'Cloister' by Tom Chant on soprano sax and Sharif Sehaoui on acoustic guitar. I was especially charmed here by the playing of Tom Chant. An exceptional and very emotional player, who is in good company here with Sharif Sehnaoui. In three 20-minute dense improvisations, they chose patiently direction, but with very alert mind and playing that is to the point. Recordings were made at the flat of Sehaoui, who lives in Paris since 1996. Here he devotes himself completely to improvised music, which implies that he is engaged in several ensembles and projects. The CD by Peter Brötzmann and Michel Zerang is only one that is actually a live recording from the Irtijal Festival 2005. We hear Brötzmann playing tenor sax, tarogato and b-flat clarinet, and Zerang drum set, darbuka and percussion. Zerang is a composer and improvisor from Chicago, Brötzmann needs no further introduction. Together they play already for some ten years within different projects. It was for the first time that the German legend played in the middle east, and his raw and loud playing surprised the audience and evoked enthusiasm. Although impressive for its constant stream of energy, I found it the least interesting of the three albums. No wonder as I have never been a fan of Brötzmann. But that doesn't matter here. What matters is that Brötzmann did play in Beirut; that a few artists from Beirut are successful in - no doubt difficult circumstances - organizing a platform for improvised music through a festival and label. Chapeau! (DM)
Address: http://www.almaslakh.org/

H.E.R.R. - VONDEL'S LUCIFER : FIRST MOVEMENT (CD by Cold Spring)
Dutch project H.E.R.R. had their debut release back in 2004. That was the album "Es regent das leben heraus". Since then the project has had two releases on Cold Spring Records, this present album being the second one. Neo-folk and Neo-classic has from beginning been the foundation for the style of H.E.R.R. This being combined with rhythms of martial music gives their albums a very pompous and beautiful expression. This latest release titled "Vondel's Lucifer : First movement" is no exception. The album is based on the most famous novel "Lucifer" written by the Dutch poet Joost van den Vondel back in the year 1654. It is said that John Milton's "Paradise lost" was accused of plagiarism because of apparently suspiciously similar story to "Lucifer". Nevertheless H.E.R.R. has brought this ancient story into present time with a beautiful album of ethereal orchestration and spoken voices. With a running time of 76+ minutes this is a long work though it certainly manage to remain intense throughout the album. The work has been divided into four pieces: "Prologue" and then "Act I-III". The expression of the album is relaxed and harmonic making it listenable for even the most non-experimental listener. H.E.R.R. has in the most beautiful manner brought Vondel's "Lucifer" back to life. In fact I think it's time to check my local library for the original book. This music certainly is inspiring! (NMP)
Address: <http://www.coldspring.co.uk>

OREN AMBARCHI & KEITH ROWE - SQUIRE (CD by For4Ears Records)
KAHN, MÖSLANG, MÜLLER, SHIBUYA, MARA - SIGNAL TO NOISE VOL.1 (CD by For4Ears Records)
As far as I know there has been an Oren Ambarchi and Keith Rowe collaborative disc before, or perhaps even more, or perhaps in combination with others. Ambarchi plays his guitar with two hands and some boxes on the floor, whereas Keith Rowe places the six stringed monster on the table and plays it with a lot of objects, combs, wires and even a radio. Both are highly skilled and both are highly imaginative in what they are doing. The work present on 'Squire' is already a couple of years old, and is from the first time they were playing together. Starting very subtle, they move through various stages of their playing, but throughout they stage on a very gentle side of things. Objects don't clatter around, but are brought in with care and detail, whereas Ambarchi puts on his finest textured playing. A great work, where the listener can't go wrong: two masters at work.
The second new release on For4Ears is the first of five of various works by Jason Kahn, Tomas Korber, Norbert Möslang, Günter Müller and Christian Weber with others. On volume one it's Möslang, Müller and Kahn who during their spring 2006 tour in Japan recorded a session with Keiichiro Shibuya and Maria, both founders of the Atak label, at Tokyo University. Chopped into five pieces, this is an entirely different recording that the Ambarchi & Rowe one. All five plays electronics in whatever form (synthesizer, laptop, cracked everyday electronics, keyboard) and despite the fullness of such a line up they come up with something that is at times as sparse as the other two on their guitars, but also can be a thick thunderous cloud of sound, such as in the final piece. All is quite coherent, and there were times were I didn't had the impression of listening to a concert of improvised music, but rather a well-composed piece. The only thing which I didn't like was it's use of reverb, which at times was a bit annoying, but otherwise: hats off. (FdW)
Address: http://www.for4ears.com

FASTEN, BULBOUS: THE CAPTAIN BEEFHEART PROJECT - PORK CHOP BLUE AROUND THE RIND (CD by Cuneiform)
The work of Captain Beefheart is one of most eccentric and impressive musical statements that emerged from pop history since the late 60s. It is already some twenty years that the Captain resigned from the music business in order to concentrate on painting. This music is so personal and unique, that you couldn't imagine being it interpreted by other musicians, and in fact you weren't waiting for this moment. But since it was clear that a new Beefheart-album was most unlikely, I, from my perspective, became interested in Beefheart-inspired music. I remember a superfluous cover of "I'm gonna booglarize you Baby" by the German band Unknown Cases, Elliott Sharp's "Vliets Van" and the beefheartesque music of Henry Kaiser with Name, Kraldjursunstalten, etc. But in the last few years projects arise were musicians feel attracted to dive more deeply into the musical universe of Beefheart. The brass quintet Meridian Arts Ensemble did their try, as did The Philly Women with their 'Mama Kangaroos'-project. Even the Magic Band is reunited. Another interesting example of this Beefheart-revival is the project that was started in 2001 by Gary Lucas and Philip Johnston. They intended to "to use the compositions of Don Van Vliet as a vehicle for improvisation and arranging", in order to make a live experience of this great music possible again (next friday they'll play at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam!). The numbers they selected span to the total career of Beefheart. From 'Abba Zabba' from his first album 'Safe as Milk', to 'Evening Bell', Gary's tour de force, from the last album 'Ice Cream for Crow'. Most tracks (5) however come what many consider as the most important album of Beefheart, 'Trout Mask Replica'. All tunes were perfectly arranged by Philip Johnston. No surprise if you remember him from the days of his Microscopic Septet. No doubt his arrangements are essential for the success of this album. He transposed the music for the following line-up: former Magic-band guitarist Gary Lucas, Jesse Krakow (bass), Richard Dworkin (drums), Rob Henke (trumpet), Philip Johnston (alto Sax), Joe Fiedler (trombone) and Dave Sewelson (baritone sax). A very diverse and high quality bunch of musicians with very different musical backgrounds and approaches (New York avant scene, latin, lo-fi , etc.). This all-instrumental combo does his utmost best to forget the vocals of Beefheart. Only "Pachuco Padaver" has a vocal intro, betraying were the expression "Fasten, Bulbous" comes from. There are a few moments on the album where everything sounds put together a little too well, too polished. Moments were the madness of this music fails to incarnate. But these moments are rare. Overall they do a great job and serve a deliciously cacophonic diner of Beefheart-music. Must be great fun to enjoy them live! (DM)
Address: http://www.cuneiform.com/

NATASHA ANDERSON - SPORE (CD by Cajid Media)
Australia's Cajid label always takes us by surprise and always seems to be treating us with new musicians, and surprising many of them are female. Natasha Anderson hails from Melbourne and plays contrabass and garklein recorders, which is the smallest soprano recorder. She processes those on the computer. Besides she is a regular improviser with people such as Anthony Pateras, Robin Fox, Annette Krebs and others. One can imagine that her choice of instrument moves between the low and the high end of the sound spectrum. She plays the instruments with wood, plastic, metal, circuitry and saliva and the whole thing comes off a highly interesting form of electro-acoustic music that is most of the times highly vibrant and dynamic. Sometimes the sounds in all directions, bounces back to earth and shoots back into space, but at other times things are slow and peaceful, such as in the last section of title piece, entitled 'leach'. No doubt derived from many hours of improvisation, this is cut short to and collated into what is on this CD, which is a fine combination of onkyo and electro-acoustic music. Great stuff!
Address: http://cajid.com

OLIVIA BLOCK - HEAVE TO (CD by Sedimental)
STEFANO PILIA - THE SUNCROWS FALL AND TREE (CD by Sedimental)
Ever since her debut with 'Pure Gaze' I have been a big fan of Olivia Block. She uses field recordings, but then: who doesn't these days? That is however one aspect, as she uses also musical instruments played by a whole bunch of people. On 'Heave To', her fourth release (she doesn't release many CDs unfortunately), we find cello, trumpet, oboe, percussion, violin, trombone, clarinet, bass trombone, viola and bass clarinet: a small ensemble. They all play closely tight together, producing clusters of sound, which work in a very organic way with all the field recordings she has made. Sounds of objects rolling on the street during a heavy windy day, rain, metallic rumble and what else have you, they mix all very well with the instruments at hand. I have no idea whether this is all composed, as in written down in a score, or not, but it sounds like it's all sketched out. There are similarities to the old work of Jim O'Rourke, circa 'Disengage', and Block's work has a similar organic feel to it, minimalist but evocative, dense yet open. Strong work, once again. Block remains for me one of the most interesting composers.
The name Stefano Pilia didn't immediately ring any bell here, but a quick search learned that he is one third of 3/4Hadbeeneliminated, who released two great CDs (and a somewhat disappointing concert a while back). He has some more solo releases, which I didn't hear. He uses an electric guitar, field recordings, piano, tape noise, instruments played by wind, sine waves, pvc tubes, filters and Andrea Belfi plays a synthesizer. Pilia plays drone music. Period. Not too dissimilar to that of Block (although we didn't use the word drone there), but with one big difference: the orchestration for small ensemble. That puts Pilia in bad competition, since I played this right after Block's CD, and then it lacks the same quality. That wasn't clever of me, because what Pilia does here, is certainly not bad. He plays some interesting pieces, two of them, of drone music. Static crackle from Belfi's synth, clear field recordings (ducks, church bells) and sustained sounds, played on a bunch of guitars, effectively layered inside the computer. Like I said, different and perhaps lesser in quality than Block's release, but perhaps that's outer category and is Pilia just ordinarily good. (FdW)
Address: http://www.sedimental.com

 

LUIGI ARCHETTI - TRANSIENT PLACES (CD by Unit Records)
LUIGI ARCHETTI - FEBRUAR (CD by Unit Records)
The first time the name Luigi Archetti popped up in Vital Weekly, was already in issue 172, when we reviewed a CD by Ellen Christi, Claudio Lodati, Jan Schlegel and Luigi Archetti, and back then our erstwhile reviewer The Square Root wasn't impressed. Born in 1955 in Italy and living in Zurich, Switzerland, and since 1978 he produces music, both as a composer and an improviser, member of Low Tide Digitals, improvised with Taku Sugimoto, Noel Akchote, Bill Horist and Dieter Moebius, to mention a few from his long list. These two releases (in total contrast with our new review policy of last week, way too old, but it's a quite morning, well, perhaps; or perhaps he didn't know yet) are solo CDs, of Archetti playing the guitar with some sort of real time computer processing. On 'Transient Places' there is help from violin, cello and double bass, but things sounds very electronic. I must say I thought it was all rather unimaginative music. Fifteen tracks spanning seventy-one minutes, is always quite lengthy, but pieces are interchangeable and stay too much in similar ground, sound wise.
'Februar' has fourteen tracks of equal length and equal intention. It's the reviewer's task to spot the differences, and they are there, I'm sure, but they are quite marginal. More sustained, e-bow sounds, crackles, a bit of drone, all somewhere between two and six minutes. But when played right after 'Transient Places', it's too much of the same thing and the attention span, at least from the listener, is gone. (FdW)
Address: http://www.unitrecords.com

YUJI TAKAHASHI & KEIICHIRO SHIBUYA & MARIA - DUB LILAC (CD by Atak)
KEIICHIRO SHIBUYA & NORBERT MÖSLANG & TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA (CD by Atak)
More music that stems from the same tour as 'Signal To Noise Volume 1' (see elsewhere), as well as new disc with involvement of Keiichiro Shibuya and Maria, the two founders of the Atak label. They have a disc of improvised music with Yuji Takahashi, who plays piano, computer and voice. Takahashi is already an older gentleman, who released his electronic work (1963 - present) on Atak before (see Vital Weekly 489). Here the three team up, and Shibuya plays on his prophet 5 synthesizer works by himself, Joseph Hauer, Arnold Schoenberg and John Cage, to which Takahashi adds improvisations on his piano and computer and Maria also computer, and this is certainly one of the more stranger releases I encountered. When I started playing it, I took it out of the machine, to check if I was playing the right disc. It's a very strange marriage of classical music, electronic, analogue sounds and computerized bleeps - the latter coming from the world clicks and cuts (remember: Atak also brought Stillupsteypa and Goem for instance). Somehow I can imagine that reading this will raise an eyebrow: does this work? And yes, oddly enough it does work. Perhaps twenty tracks, clocking in at almost fifty six minutes is a bit long, but there is enough good stuff to be found here. Very odd mixture indeed.
The other release on Atak is recorded during the Swiss invasion of Japan. It must have been a busy time for the Swiss people with all these playing and improvising. This disc is a bit complicated: it contains seven tracks by all three, and then two by each solo, probably some rework of the original concert recordings - but perhaps not. In the trio-improvisations the computer, keyboard (Shibuya), cracked everyday electronics (Möslang) and guitar, mixing board and headphones (Nakamura) bounce together in a pretty violent fashion. Not really noise in the strictest sense of the word, but in a more crude manner than is usual in the world of improvisation (at least this world), but all three keep their ears open for what the others are doing and the clashes work well. Interesting enough all three like their solo work to focus on rhythmic particles. Nakamura splices them through the use of a no-input mixer, Möslang by creating loops out his own cracked everyday electronics and Shibuya makes them really short, ultra fast and ultra stereo to create a fine woven pattern of sound. I like the fact that these solo excursions are included, so we can our own math's and see who did what. Great release. Quite powerful. (FdW)
Address: http://www.atak.jp

TAKAGI MASAKATSU - WORLD IS SO BEAUTIFUL (DVD by Carpark Records)
Music on DVD. It might the future for the CD market, as they are not easy to rip to MP3, and there is something to see. Personally I think I like music so much, that I don't need to picture it and rather make my own story, but perhaps I'm just old-fashioned. Here we have a re-issue of 'World Is So Beautiful' which was released in 2002 on Daisyworld Discs, the label of Hosono. Multi-media artist Takagi Masakatsu travelled the world and visited countries such as Turkey, Guatamala, Cuba, Indonesia, Nepal, Germany, Japan and France, and recorded his field recordings on a film camera, rather than just the audio. And both are used, so we see lots of trees and lots of laughter from children. To this Takagi adds a fine blend of processed piano playing, soft, not outspoken rhythms and software synthesizers. The whole thing breaths life, hope, enjoyment and beauty. The world is a great place and it's worth fighting for. Lazy music to sit back and relax. I sort of glimpsed at the films every once in a while, which were nice, but perhaps a bit too much giving away the music. This DVD fits the current flow of nice, smooth music from Japanese people, that usually sit neatly on the Noble or Spekk labels, or labelmates from Carpark. As such nothing new under the sun, which is as a bright as should be with such a hopeful release. (FdW)
Address: http://www.carparkrecords.com

PIERRE ALEXANDRE TREMBLAY - ALTER EGO (DVD by Empreintes Digitales)
Unlike the Takagi Masakatsu DVD reviewed elsewhere, this DVD has no images or film. The sole reason for putting it on a DVD is to make sure it can have 24 bit versions, in stead of the regular 16 bit found on a regular CD. Tremblay is a Canadian composer who moved to Britain, where he is these a composer at the University Of Huddersfield. He is also a member of [iks], a contemporary jazz ensemble, which he formed in 1996. On this DVD there are five pieces, the oldest from 1997 and the most recent from 2004. He certainly has a diverse style: in 'Binary (Virtual Rapper Remix)' he adds the processed of a rapper to a crazy blend of chopped up rhythms. That might be something new for the lovers of empreintes digitales! In his other pieces he offers more 'regular' music that we find usually on the releases of this label. Acousmatic music of processed sounds all sort, and normally I do not find this always to be highly interesting, because it's all rather academic in approach and it moves very much along strict patterns, but Tremblay seems to be adding something of his own, a bit more humor (as in the aforementioned 'Binary'), but also in his other pieces. It's hard to define what that is, exactly, but I very much enjoyed this release, as it all sounded quite fresh in an otherwise rigid world of it's own. (FdW)
Address: http://www.electrocd.com

MARK SADGROVE - TWO RULES (7" Lathe Cut by A Binary Datum)
MICROCLIMATE - UNTITLED (7" Lathe Cut by A Binary Datum)
HELGA FASSONAKI - COVERT LOADSTONES (7" Lathe Cut by A Binary Datum)
Lathe cut records are made in very small editions, starting I believe at twenty copies, so they rarely make it into these pages. Mark Sadgrove, who is originally from New Zealand (Auckland to be precise) and now living in Tokyo, was captured by the lathe cut virus, and started his own little lathe cut label, A Binary Datum', starting off with a series of records called 'Fixated', focussing on Auckland artists who use a very specific recording technique. The first release is by Sadgrove himself and his fascination for screeching metal on metal. The two sides were recorded with the ruler from his work. The a-side is recorded with a contact microphone and for the other the ruler is plugged through a 1 bit pre-amp. That side is the more noisier one, almost distorted from what can be heard on the a-side. That side is more quiet and sounds like early Organum, but recorded in a more much simpler way, and less the speed change and the reverb. Both pieces are executed with care and precision - like you can expect from a ruler.
The next one is by Microclimate, of whom I never heard. Their piece was recorded from the rattle of cymbals, being brought to motion by playing low frequency tones through an 18 inch loudspeaker. You don't hear the frequencies, just the rattle. They describe at length the recording and the process (like when the bass amplifier was made, if you should want to know), and my short description probably doesn't justify this very much. Each side was recorded during a longer session, but it has been compiled and edited for this release. Microclimate's music, although made for an installation and more likely automatic music, reminded me very much of the very first recordings I heard by z'ev, which were probably on cassette. Very vibrant and lively, but also with a rather low level sort of recording, which is here of course all to deliberate, but one that works well.
Helga Fassonaki uses 'five manipulated tape machines, each contained in polystyrene chilli bins' chucking out noise textures. Captured by contact microphones and tape heads on the inside and speakers on the outside, this is a highly strange affair. It's hard to tell what it looks like, but I'm sure it's fascinating. The music is too, but perhaps it has to do with description. If you wouldn't know what was going on, it would have perhaps all too easily described as unfocussed noisy textures (although not too loud), but now we know what is going - or at least: let our imagination run wild on that - we try and figure out what it is. It becomes strangely captivating music. All three releases have pictures of the events on the cover to enlighten our own ideas about it. Three great releases. (FdW)
Address: http://www.abinarydatum.net

SUPERIMPOZER - THOUGHT FUNGUS (CDR by Dubious Audio)
Superimpozer is the project of Rowan Porteous, a producer, musician, etc from London. 'Thought Fungus', is his second CD, the first one coming to my ears however. With laptop and trumpet he creates heavy and dark dub techno-like music. At moments it has some jazzy touches, due to the trumpet playing by Porteous. He is helped out by Isnaj Dui on flute in one track, and by Emma Marie Lee on violin in another track. These tracks I liked most. Violin, flute plus the trumpet that we hear in others tracks as well, are successfully integrated within the heavy electronic environment, created by the laptop. Was Miles Davis still alive I could imagine that he would this kind of techno inspired jazz. At other moments Superimposer loses himself in a bombastic sound collages that make no sense to me. But as I am almost completely unknown with techno, it is impossible for me situate this album and saying anything relevant on this one. (DM)
Address: http://www.dubiousaudio.co.uk/

(((STEREOFECT))) - PING (CDR by Triple Bath)
On a new label from Greece, called Triple Bath, we encounter Steve Burr, who calls himself (((stereofect))), which is nicely written as such. In 1989 he got his first music computer, an Atari 1040st, but he also played in rock bands. Since 1988 is his primary work lies in working in the studio and currently dark ambient is his main big interest. On 'Ping' he uses two of hybrid instruments, the MFB Synth-lite and the Frostwave Resonator. I never heard of these things, but Burr crafts three pieces of dark ambient industrial music together, following the best traditions of Lustmord, but more rhythmic. Loaded with reverb to emphasize the menacing character of the music, and which sometimes works against, sounds sizzle, hissle, trissle from the darkest corners of the sound spectrum, something like a rusty chain, sometimes like air being carved into a statue and overall, make a solid (hey, heavy) impression on the listener, although occasionally a bit distorted. Music wise perhaps not the strongest example of musical innovation, but nice enough. (FdW)
Address: http://www.triplebath.gr

FEU FOLLET - SOUVENIR D'ERMITAGE (CDR by Silence Is Not Empty)
The first release by Feu Follet was reviewed in Vital Weekly 512 and the two lengthy pieces on 'Toi Et Le Son' were excursions into drone land. This new release sees Feu Follet still playing the mood music card, but in a totally different way. Subtle, flowing rhythms, spacious synthesizer sounds - no doubt coming from the computer - and subtle piano playing. All in minor chords. The pure drones of the previous release aren't there anymore, or at least not that extent. In the title track it ends in that territory, while the piano still plays a bunch of loose chords. The other two pieces also evolve/revolve around the piano, but have more percussive elements. Quite melodic and harmonious stuff going on here, in a sort of primitive ambient house manner that ruled the music world some time ago. But it's still fine music. (FdW)
Address: http://www.silence-is-not-empty.com

SOUND_00 - AMBIENCE (CDR by Dirty Demos)
[DEAD WOOD] - SAME PLACE DIFFERENT WEATHER (CDR by Dirty Demos)
PINKEYE FEAT LINDA - THE LOST FORM OF ECHO (3"CDR by Dirty Demos)
A new label from the UK, with the rather silly name of Dirty Demos (suggesting to release something else), whose first three releases are nicely packaged, but why the paint on the CDR? There should be a law against that. The first release is by Toni Dimitrov, also known as Sound_00, Every Kid On Speed/Acid and known to run the Acid Fake label. He is a man who likes his noise, but of course with a title such as 'Ambience' we may think again. Of course he could pull a leg on us, and do play some noise, but no, he's staying on the quiet side of things. In one piece, that spans forty-one minute, he takes the listener on a more quiet and contemplative trip. Starting out with a deep rumble, there is also some vaguely rumbling metallic percussion that occasionally joins the ride and some out of sync synthesizer sounds. Firmly made inside the small box that is called a laptop, the main surprise lies for me in the fact that it's a more contemplative work for Sound_00 than in the actual musical content, which is ok, but not really the greatest musical innovation. But as said quite alright for what it is: a nice set of ambient like music.
Behind [Dead Wood] is Adam Baker, who is also the man behind the label. He too is a man of the laptop, feeding it with field recordings that of a somewhat obscure nature, all because of his strong love to process it heavily into slightly more rhythmic particles than is usually the case in the world of microsound. [Dead Wood]'s music is a bit more about noise and rhythm than many of his more silent peers, but never has the sheer size and volume of say somebody like Chefkirk. That makes his release into quite a nice feature. Nothing too long, perhaps here and there a bit thrown together and lacks a bit of structure, but the overall intention is pretty good.
Pinkeye is one Nick, and he gets vocal help by one Linda. Six tracks in only twelve minutes, but it's hardly punkrock here. Linda sings with quite a neat voice, and Nick produces rather experimental, even noisy sounds. That would perhaps be an uneasy marriage, but it works really well. Some of the music seems to be produced in the living room, with someone doing the dishes, but the whole thing is rather cleverly made, with double tracking of the voices, and slight processing of the voice. In 'Stay Awake Now!', Nick picks up the guitar and the two play a nice popsong. Quite a captivating release, in all its direct and weirdness. (FdW)
Address: http://www.dirtydemos.co.uk

MACHINEFABRIEK - STOTTERMUZIEK (3" CDR by Machinefabriek)
Somewhere along the lines I lost count of Machinefabriek 3" CDR releases, but my best guess it has been close to fifteen now. In the early not wanting to settle himself on any sort of musical style, safe perhaps for the fact that they were 'electronic' in one form of the other, in the last three or so however Machinefabriek moved towards a more quieter, textured music, usually for variations of guitarplaying. Here he does the same, except that he is creating violin sounds. In the first two pieces this is be recognized, but as the disc progresses the stutter, as announced in the title, takes over and computer land is entered, with a deep and low humming of drone sounds to end the proceedings in 'Wintervacht', a beautiful but vague humming of dark clouds during wintertime. Machinefabriek seems to have found his style, as started with his CD release 'Marijn' and explores that sound in various forms, and as such he does indeed a pretty fine job. (FdW)
Address: http://www.machinefabriek.nu

THE SUN IS AN ORANGE COOKIE - MY HEART OF SUGAR (MP3/CD-R by Chloe Recordings)
Often repetitive music revolves around the point when boredom turns into excitement and vice versa - it's all about how long a beat, a phrase, a static drone can or must go on until it collapses into weariness or reaches blissful heights. Judged by this aspect (and expressed in a slightly reductionist way) The Sun is an Orange Cookie's recent release on Chloe is 90 percent hit, 10 percent miss. Linda Gale Aubry, who is behind TSiaOC, really knows how to keep things going with a well chosen palette of short electronic patterns, sampled acoustic percussion and field recordings, that she subjects to thoughtful variations and accentuation's. Only the third track is a little disappointing - a looped field recording of a party fed through a delay with gradually changing parameters and an electronic drone underneath. With this exception however My Heart of Sugar is a delightful release, from the fluid, vaguely house-influenced pulse of "Find a Place Before Dark Falls" to the noisier textures of the final track - cozy music, somewhere between pop-oriented electronica (minus the melodies), laid-back minimal house (minus the bouncing bass) and glitchy ambient (minus the cliché-laden sounds).
There is also a CD-R version of this release, which comes in hand-stitched bags, made from vintage and unusual fabric, each one unique. I don't have this at hand, but judging from the photos on the label's website this is one of the most beautiful packages I've come across for quite some time. Needless to say that you have to hurry up to get it - only 36 copies were made. And finally as a postscript I don't want to miss pointing you to the re-release of Mike Bullock's fine EP "This Will Cheer You Up", originally released as a CD-R on Kissy Records, now available in MP3-format from Chloe. (MSS)
Address: http://www.chloechloe.cc/

STEPHEN GARD - CARRIERS (MP3 by Earlabs)
WOLFGANG PETER MENZEL - ELECTROVIRUS (MP3 by Earlabs)
Since the early days of electro-acoustic music radio waves have attracted the interest of sound artists. And indeed, the radio provides a most fascinating array of hiss, static, and crackle, of transmissions from far away places, disembodied voices, and undecipherable signals. For his recent release on Earlabs Stephen Gard uses these sounds as his sole basic material. He doesn't extensively manipulate the sounds themselves, but rather treats his material in a collage-like way, cutting up bits and pieces, throwing in a loop here and there, or layering voices until they all dissolve in a Babylonian chaos. Thus Gard maintains the rawness of the radio sounds while at the same time transforming them into subtle and engaging compositions with lots of carefully worked out details. Forty minutes of radio waves might be a bit too long to listen to in one go. Taken at smaller doses, however, this is a fine work that shows an interesting approach towards limited (and already well explored) source material and proves Gard's skills for choosing and combining sounds.
Wolfgang Peter Menzel's release is similar to Gard's insofar as he also concentrates his interest on a single sound source - in his case body sounds. Yet, unlike Gard, Menzel processes this material to such an extent that it looses its original character almost entirely and adds some additional sounds to it. From this basic material he crafts five tracks of dark gentle waves of sound, occasionally accompanied and accentuated by pulses and synthetic sounds. The result is quite alright, but stays in standard digital ambient/microsound territories. Menzel heavily relies on echo and delay, yet his use of it is not very imaginative, so that often it seems a bit unfocussed. And to make things worse the piano-like tinkle of the last track is even close to cheesy synths. Despite all my ranting and despite the fact that the final result is not the most original and is lacking tension here and there this is an ok release, and just not my cup of tea. The inclined listener however might find beauty where I already sense boredom lurking around the corner. (MSS)
Address: http://www.earlabs.org

 

 

 

 

 

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All written by Frans de Waard (FdW), The Square Root Of Sub (MP <sub@xs4all.nl>), Dolf Mulder (DM) <dolf.mulder@hetnet.nl>, Robert Meijer (RM), Gerald Schwartz (GS), Niels Mark Pedersen (NMP), Henry Schneider (SH), Jeff
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